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6 1/2 Magic Hours

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6 1/2 Magic Hours

Published 1958

The comfort and delight of transatlantic air travel at the beginning of the jet age.

Run time 12:25
Producer Kahlenberg
Sponsor Pan American World Airways
Audio/Visual Sd, C


Ken Smith sez: This film was produced by Pan Am to promote their jet clipper service from New York to London. The swelling strings and snooty narration were obviously designed to win over the first class transatlantic liner crowd. Never before (or since) has air travel been depicted so glamorously.

Pan American World Airways (sponsor) Aircraft (passenger) Travel Airline operations Tourism Aircraft (jet) Aircraft (Boeing 707) Aircraft (trans-Atlantic) Airports Airports (tarmac) Aircraft (cargo) Air mail Mail bags Fathers Sons Airplanes (watching) Airports (observation decks) Observation decks (airports) Passengers (aircraft) Aircraft (passengers boarding) Airports (terminals) Aircraft (passenger, interiors) Aircraft (pilots) Briefcases Charts Pilots (passenger aircraft) Aircraft (crews) Aircraft (cockpits) Aircraft (instruments) Instruments (aircraft) Aircraft (taxiing) Airports (runways) Flight Waving (people, at plane) Aircraft (takeoffs) Aircraft (in clouds) Air-to-air shots (Boeing 707 aircraft) Flight attendants Service Workers (airline) Magazines (reading, on airplane) Seats (aircraft) Roominess (passenger aircraft) Firsts (trans-Atlantic jet service) Vibration (absence of) Steadiness (aircraft) Stability (aircraft) Public address systems (aircraft) Meals (airline) Food service (on airlines) Workers (flight attendants) Food (airline) Eating (on airplanes) Families Families (nuclear) Games Chess Naps Sleeping Blankets (on airplanes) Flowers (on airplanes) Luxury Aircraft (descending) London, England (history and culture) Heathrow Airport, London, England Aerials (London, England) London, England (aerials) Thames River, London (aerials) Parliament, London (aerials) United Kingdom (history and culture) Aircraft (landing) Ceremonies Soldiers (United Kingdom) Guards, changing of the (London) Horses Swords Elizabeth II, Queen (salutes guards) Birthday ceremonies (Queen Elizabeth II) Paris, France (aerials) Paris, France (history and culture) Aerials (Paris, France) Eiffel Tower Notre Dame de Paris Seine River Rivers Pedestrians (Paris) Cities (Europe) Boulevards (Paris) Europe (cities) Rapid transit (Paris) Subways (Paris) Nightclubs (Paris) Entertainment Leisure Recreation Signs ("Folies Bergere") Signs ("Lido") Signs ("Moulin Rouge") Signs (burlesque) Dancing (burlesque) (signs) Champagne (pouring, closeup) Pouring (champagne) Alcohol Wines Liquors Beverages


Reviewer: JSBejma - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 29, 2012
Subject: Ahhh...The Good Ol' Days
Two doors into the plane and two to go out; and this was long before people started dragging every piece of crap they own onto the plane and taking a half hour rounding it up when you land. You could light up a delicious ciggie after a sumptuous meal and hey! nobody'e dying of 2nd hand smoke - or even pretending to! Well dressed people, almost all of them HWP, that obviously have bathed in the past 18 hours, probably all wearing underwear and socks, and then you get to England and there are no burkas bums or hippies interrupting your enjoyment of what was once "jolly old England."

The one thing missing in this portrayal is the air sickness bag and how to use it - which was more necessary in those days before turbulence was better understood and became more predictable. Many a lobster landed on someone's lap in those days...but at least you got lobster instead of a musty old bag of pretzels. Those drinkies were probably top shelf stuff, and gratis.

This enjoyable film confirms my suspicion that despite the all that technological advancement, humans are definitely in a state of reverse evolution.

5 stars and I'll probably watch it again sometime.
Reviewer: Pithecanthropus - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 13, 2012
Subject: Flying above the weathuh in a Jet Clippuh!
What a fun film. I happen to own a vintage 1960 World Book Encyclopedia, and in the "Airplane" article there's a picture series entitled "A Trip In A Jet Airliner From New York To Paris". And I recognize many of the same people from there in this film, from which those stills were obviously taken.

As for the narrator, I don't think he sounds 'snooty' as alleged by the official review. I think, instead, he has a slight speech impediment much like Barbara Walters'.

Just like any other flight, except "no airplane was used"--sounds like about ten years later in San Francisco's Haight Ashbury and a few other places.

What, there's an entrance at the back, AND the FRONT? I'd never know it from any time I ever flew in that type of plane. Everyone always has to wait to enter or leave the plane by the one door that they use. But at least now we have wheeled luggage!

ETA 2012-01-12: Did you get that about how a letter mailed from London to New York might be delivered the next day? Now we don't even have next day delivery in-state.
Reviewer: Eric Woodcock - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 1, 2006
Subject: Who was the narrator?
He sounds a lot like the film and stage actor Jose Ferrer to me - any opinions?
It was interesting to see how little pilots' announcments have changed. I was also intrigued by the strange jet-way arrangements on the Idelwild model and the fact that the planes are parked tail in.
Anyone notice the areas of bomb damage in the aerial views of central London?
Reviewer: Venckman - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 14, 2005
Subject: I wish I had a powder room that nice in my house!
A profoundly depressing film from the perspective of the modern air traveller. Not only do we not get served gourmet food, or turn around in the filthy bathrooms on today's planes, we lack the room on our tray tables for fresh flowers and 16 story card houses. We make the journey in roughly the same time, yet we seem to have only gone backwards in regards to style and comfort.
Reviewer: iljc116 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 24, 2005
Subject: Well, I still like flying...
...maybe even a little too much! I adore and collect anything air travel-related, particularly vintage, and this film was right up my alley.

Both customers and airline employees are getting less from the industry now. But some airlines are realizing what is wrong. Hey, why else would JetBlue be one of the only profitable airlines? ;)
Reviewer: bogo84 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 31, 2005
Subject: In 1985 , British Airways Tried To Live Up to 6 1/2 Hrs
I've been disappointed with airline service since the late 1980's. This film is filled with so much excitement and enthusiasm about what the future held for global travel on all airlines. I flew British Airways in 1985 to my first military assignment located in the UK and was treated like royalty. At that time, any flight I took had sharp professional 'eager to please' personnel attending to me and others. But by the 1990's, I dreaded any flight on an airplane because airlines started cutting back due to economics. Flight attendants and airport personnel have in general became openly rude and appear stressed out and many of the passengers have by now allowed the exciting novelty of flying to wear off. And since 911...need I say more.
Reviewer: cartaphilus - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 20, 2004
Subject: New 6 1/2 Hour Video
I brought this video into the 21st Century.
Here is the link from my server.
Trying to get it on Prelinger, but dunno how.
Reviewer: C-CUBED - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 21, 2004
Indeed the way it was. I always longed to fly PanAM - it represented the penultimate airline - even the name espoused high-end travel. However, being Canadian - we have Air Canada, and previously CP Air, Wardair - (Which was like Pan Am) and Canadian Airlines. All now gone except AC.

I do remember my very first flight on AC in the mid 60's as a young boy returning home from London. Yes, we actually did dress up in our Sunday best! The Stewardesses (they were not called "flight attendants") were all beautiful and dressed in couture "Courreges" at the time.

The mixture of fresh jet fuel mingled with mink-shod ladies' perfume of the period, lemons and those neat little packets of chewing gum they handed you when you boarded (for altitude pressure changes!) I'll never forget my first in-flight meal - It was a perfectly proportioned, perfectly round bacon-wrapped filet mignon with all the trimmings. Each item fit exactly the dish it sat in, and the dishes in troughs on the tray... I mean cookie-cutter perfect. And almost 40 years later I still remember that dinner. AC didn't have a lounge like Pan Am, but judging by the video, I sure would like to have sampled something off of that trolley. Do I see a pot of Caviar in crushed ice there too?!

Anyone out there who did enjoy flying during that golden era and experienced the delights - consider yourselves equal to those of the latter "Concorde" class... That is exactly the same level of service that [was] afforded, albeit not quite as comfortable in the smaller cabin and seat size of the Concorde. This little vignette is quite the gem. I wonder if there is a record out there of the TWA Constellation? Another Classic and beautiful Jetliner.

Interesting to note: Why does the Pan Am 707 Jet Clippah' look so much more advanced and "futuristic" than that of our planes of today? More modern and streamlined than anything airborne in our new millenium. Have we taken that many steps back?

As the advertisements used to say: Getting there WAS half the fun...
Reviewer: trafalgar - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 12, 2004
Subject: The Jet Age rocks!
Is it just me, or was air travel much, much cooler in 1958? Smoking on board? Chess? Tablecloths? Restaurant-quality food?
Go Pan Am!
Reviewer: Rocketeer - favoritefavoritefavorite - April 27, 2003
Subject: Populuxe Air Travel!
Lots of fun for aviation buffs who want to see how early jet travel was promoted. Looking around an airport today, it's hard to believe that people used to actually dress up for jet flights. If the narrator isn't Jose Ferrer he sure sounds a lot like him.
Reviewer: Bamaboy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 6, 2003
Subject: And Now...The Jet Age!
Awesome movie about Pan Am's new Boeing 707 Jet Clipper service across the Air Ocean of the Atlantic.

The music throughout this film is truly classic. This movie made me want to rush right out and jump on board the next flight to London. Features of the "spacious cabin" jets are a big part of this film. I also enjoyed the scale model of the new Pan Am terminal at the New York Airport where passangers would move from terminal to jet under covered awnings. The passengers look overjoyed when the co-pilot announces that the jet's ground speed is now 658 miles per hour. In fact, by looking at these passengers, you would think that the flight to London is the high point of the trip.

The movie goes on to show some of the activities to be enjoyed while in England and Paris. "You have extra hours to do what you want to do in a leisurely way" the film reports.

5 stars all the way on this one.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 8, 2002
Subject: 12 1/2 magic Minutes!
In this deliriously great film, Pam An goes overboard to tell you how wonderful Trans-atlantic travel is with it's new jet clipper plane. I mostly dug the new innovations, such as the amazing powder rooms onboard, and the guy making PLAYING CARD HOUSES while onboard... RIGHT! Interesting pre-examination of plane culture, especially after 9/11 is always very interesting to see, and this excellently preserved film is a delight to behold. Hiighly reccomended.
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